You know how you can tell how scuzzy 1979’s Play Motel is? I had a hard time finding a SFW poster to share along with this article. The giallo genre has the tendency to veer toward the seamier side of the tracks, but this one jumps into the filth, rolls around on it and then never takes a shower.
Patrizia and Roberto (Ray Lovelock, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, Murder Rock) are a married couple who’ve just stayed at the Play Motel, a no-tell motel where couples meet up for “adult encounters.” Kind of like DJ Island, the swinger’s club on the outskirts of my hometown where the high school English teacher who told me I’d never become a writer overdosed on Viagra in the hot tub.
They discover the body of Maria Longhi, a famous man’s wife, in the trunk of their car. After calling the police, they discover the body has been moved. Following giallo tradition, our heroic couple decides to help the police with the case.
We get to see some of the scenes within the Play Motel, like a couple where the man dresses like the devil and his lover dresses like a nun. There’s some blackmail too, along the way. Just where the film seems like it’s becoming a mystery story, it decides to throw in a ten-minute long love scene. To the shock of the film’s leads, the producers inserted hardcore scenes into the film upon release, which I’ve only seen in one other giallo — The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance, which also features Patrizia Webley. There’s also an appearance by adult star Marina Hedman, whose debut mainstream film was in Lucio Fulci’s My Sister-in-Law, opposite giallo queen Edwige Fenech.
Is it any surprise that this film comes from Mario Gariazzo, the deranged mind behind the most morally repugnant rip off of The Exorcist I’ve ever seen — that’s a compliment — Enter the Devil?
If there’s one nice thing you can take away from Play Motel, it’s the theme song. Seriously, it sounds like the most demented Wings song ever. It really feels like it comes from a completely different movie!